• Typeface legibility: Towards defining familiarity

Beier, Sofie, 2009, Thesis, Typeface legibility: Towards defining familiarity PhD thesis, Royal College of Art.

Abstract or Description:

The aim of the project is to investigate the influence of fa- miliarity on reading. Three new fonts were created in order to examine the familiarity of fonts that readers could not have seen before. Each of the new fonts contains lowercase letters with fa- miliar and unfamiliar skeleton variations. The different skeleton variations were tested with distance threshold and time thresh- old methods in order to account for differences in visibility. This investigation helped create final typeface designs where the fa- miliar and unfamiliar skeleton variations have roughly similar and good performance. The typefaces were later applied as the test material in the familiarity investigation.

Some typographers have proposed that familiarity means the amount of time that a reader has been exposed to a typeface design, while other typographers have proposed that familiarity is the commonalities in letterforms. These two hypotheses were tested by measuring the reading speed and preference of partici- pants, as they read fonts that had either common or uncommon letterforms, the fonts were then re-measured after an exposure period. The results indicate that exposure has an immediate ef- fect on the speed of reading, but that unfamiliar letter features only have an effect of preference and not on reading speed.

By combining the craftsmen’s knowledge of designing with the methods of experimental research, the project takes a new step forward towards a better understanding of how different type- faces can influence the reading process.

Qualification Name: PhD
Subjects: Creative Arts and Design > W200 Design studies > W210 Graphic Design > W213 Visual Communication
School or Centre: School of Communication
Copyright Holders: Sofie Beier
Date Deposited: 30 Mar 2012 16:51
Last Modified: 04 Oct 2023 11:21
URI: https://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/957
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